Google Analytics provides statistics on website visits


While print circulations decline, online publications are becoming more important to news companies and independents journalists. Advertisements have allowed different journalistic sites to make a profit based on the number of people who visit the site. However, increasing the flow of traffic to a website can be difficult to achieve.

This is where Google Analytics comes in useful.

Google Analytics, which has been around since 2005, tracks information about people who visit websites. It can determine what parts of a website are most popular, the success of social media campaigns, whether people are using mobile apps related to the website, how many customers are being attracted and how well a website’s advertising is working.

One of the key services that Google Analytics provides is how visitors arrive at a website. This allows online journalists and news companies to determine whether their online advertising campaigns are effective, how much they rely on search engine results and how many people go straight to site by typing in the website name on a web browser.

Websites can also use Google Analytics to see where traffic on their website is coming from and the average time spent on the site. For example, a website can view how many people from each country visit. This could lead to them discovering that while they might have a lot of visitors from English-speaking countries, there might not be the same level of popularity in other parts of the world. This might end up resulting in a campaign to make the site friendlier to international visitors.

Google Analytics has already had a serious effect in the online world. It is estimated that around 55 percent of the 10,000 most popular sites uses Google Analytics. If news companies and online journalists learn to use Google Analytics, then they could be one step closer in learning how to monetize the online news industry.

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There are no promises when you go digital


What does a business model look like for a company with more than 800 digital and print products in 18 states serving 57 million customers per month?

In April, I gave a presentation on a news company called Digital First Media. The company operates Digital First Ventures, MediaNews Group and Journal Register Company, thus allowing it the capability of reaching 57 million customers per month. Through its various arms, the company sets out to take news and disseminate it through various digital channels. Every content producer is given a flip camera for reporting. 

With the Ben Franklin Project, some staffers were asked to report only utilizing journalism tools that were available to them for free. And the company’s newsrooms each have a space where local citizens, the people the newspaper is producing content for, can suggest stories.

The value I saw in giving a presentation on Digital First Media to a room full of future journalists? The company’s work in disseminating news literally embodies their name, “digital first.” And its journalists put an emphasis on catering their work to their audience.

This statement on Digital First Media CEO John Paton’s blog, however, came by surprise:

The rest of the open letter is outlined here. So now for the big question: what went wrong? From 2009 to 2011 the digital revenue of the company grew 235 percent and digital audience more than doubled (okay, that’s good). But also from 2009 to 2011, this happened:



It seems the decline in print journalism ended up hurting the company the most, regardless of the fact that the company put digital first. Paton attempted to create a news business model catered heavily to his reader’s needs, breaking traditional molds by bringing citizens into the newsroom (literally).

If a majority of the company’s newspapers are distributed within small, local communities, it may be possible, though, that local readers do not have a plethora of resources to find news about local events. However, is it worth it for the company to invest money in printing a newspaper that has such a small base? I wonder if the advertising base was there.

Though the company is filing for Chapter 11, what Paton did was brave. It may not have put his company where he expected it to be, but he experimented with a particular business approach. It will truly be interesting to see where Digital First Media will go in the future.

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‘Skimm’ the news and have fun at same time


As a journalist, I have learned that time is of the essence and, when it comes to getting the latest on breaking news and current events, reading all the news is time consuming. So, for me, finding new ways of getting the information of the day is important.

On Tuesday morning, I was watching “The Today Show” when I heard about theSkimm, an online newsletter that is delivered to a reader’s inbox in the morning with all that is news from politics, entertainment and sports.

The newsletter is a quick read about what is going on in the news world. The news is put into sections, so the reader can get to the important details of the news of the day and fast. It’s made to be fun as well, so when needed the reader can have a conversation starter.

With a section called, “Repeat after Me,” which gives the reader lines to say if stick in a particular situation, for example, “What to say when you think someone is waving to you and they’re not…” theSkimm gives the reader a quick and funny comeback. The answer for this can be read by visiting the archives on the site.

The newsletter also has a section called “Skimm Favor,” which asks the reader to pass along a message or post some news. Birthdays of readers are posted and the newsletter encourages the reader to e-mail any news that was missed to

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Seven laws of journalism we should know…


I was searching across the Internet for recent news on journalism and journalists and came upon an article about the laws of journalism and found it very interesting. The article discussed seven laws that journalists must know and remember at all times, and although most journalists know this laws like the back of their hand, I think it is good to remind everyone. Every journalist, both young and old, new and pro, has to be reminded of these seven laws.

These laws range from database rights all the way to hate speech. These laws should especially be considered when journalists start publishing online rather then in print because areas like defamation, libel, contempt of court, privacy and privilege can be altered. Internet journalism opens up a whole new world of laws and licenses that one must be conscious of.

The Internet is a place where laws you never knew existed are applied to your work and the following are the most important all journalists should be aware of.

The first law to be mindful of is copyright and “public domain.” The right can be surrounding pictures and other content that is shared by other across the web.

The second law is creative commons and open data rights. Creative commons licensing allows you to find and use content quickly and with confidence. It is also an important factor in distributing the work.

The next law is database rights. This is basically very similar to copyright.

Discrimination and hate speech laws are also very important. Journalists are not just journalists but publishers and must be weary of what people publish on their site. And there are many acts all through out history that discuss hate speech laws in more detail like The Racial and Religions Hatred Act of 2006. A journalist should definitely brush up on these laws if need be.

The fifth law is the data protection law from the Data Protection Act of 1998. The act basically states that you use information only for the purposes for which it is gathered and only as long as it is needed.

The second to last law involves harassment and stalking. This law prevents journalists on reporting about particular individuals and the stalking law is used in a very similar way.

The last law, arguably the most important, is the Freedom of Information Act. Instead of talking about what journalists can’t do on their sites and over the Internet, this act discusses what you can do. It states you have access to information held by public bodies such as councils, police authorities, health bodies and national government departments.

These seven laws will help guide any journalist to a successful career, at least on the web.

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I was working on a multimedia project for class in Final Cut Pro., the video quality was very poor and I needed to fix it. became the solution of my problem.

With just a five-minute video tutorial, I was able to fix the incident, improve the quality of my project and even learn how to use other features of Final Cut Pro. is an online learning center that offers a variety of video tutorials for any type of media, design or business software, including Final Cut Pro, Compressor, InDesign and Photoshop.

The tutorials are organized based on the level of difficulty, the version of the software and the type of program. The same are conducted by experts in the field and are constantly updated.

Although is a subscription-based company, several universities, libraries and companies provide access to the site for their students and employees, including the University of Miami.

I have learned a great amount throughout the tutorials that offers and, therefore, I highly recommend you to use this helpful guide to get better in your career and not waste time when working on a project that requires the use of the mentioned programs.

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Journalists sure aren’t in Kansas anymore


A recent post by colleague Andres Correa tells about the positive aspect in allowing journalists to enter war zones and the passage this has opened in social media for journalists to report explosions the moment they occur. But there is the other very significant aspect of being able to spread the word and photos of the explosions so promptly: Journalists risking their lives.

Although journalists have died in the name of reporting the truth during war times before, it has never reached the intensity we see today. According to the International Press Institute, 28 journalists were killed in 1997. Fifteen years later, we’re at 119. In comparison to the number of soldiers who have been killed, it’s a small percentage. But it’s the fact that the risk factor of foreign journalism is increasing, especially in the Middle East. And with the Arab Spring nowhere near its end, the number is likely to keep growing.

The question is: What does this mean for foreign journalism? This can either scare off journalists or motivate the brave to continue fighting in the name of their duty to the masses. The rise in deaths also means journalists need to receive some formal training before entering war zones and receive similar benefits that soldiers do. At the end of the day, they’re both fighting for a greater good.

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Smart phone now a necessary tool for journalists


Something tells me it is only a matter of a couple years before cell phones that aren’t smart phones will be obsolete — I honestly think this is almost true within journalism today.

My girlfriend just found out that she is getting an iPhone 4 in a couple weeks and I swear it is like she is in a brand new world because all of the opportunities that the smart phone brings is now open to her: instant information, better connectivity, picture and file sharing, and so forth. All of the features of a smart phone are even more important for a journalist who is constantly trying to be at the cutting edge of his/her field.

It is honestly hard to think of a time when smart phones weren’t a part of everyday life in journalism. How did we go without answering e-mails that we now find crucial to getting the interviews or access that we need for a particular story? Was there ever a time when we couldn’t just pull out our smart phone to snap a photo that could legitimately be posted on an online blog of a publication within minutes? Well, yes, there was, but it feels like eons ago and for many reasons.

One, in particular, is very exciting, and it is that journalism is moving at a very rapid pace in our society. Journalists are creating new, innovative ways to gather and distribute information and utilizing the social media outlets to their utmost advantage. Smart phones are key within this movement.

While the old school values of journalism are still necessary for the ethical side of the industry, pen and paper are even becoming a thing of the past for stories now, let alone the tape recorder. All of this is can be attributed to the smart phone movement that has come about and is definitely here to stay.

Journalism is an exciting industry now because of all of the technology that is in our hands. While print might be a dying art that is hurting publications because of the immense change, the digital age is bringing more than enough opportunities for journalists. One can only think of a time now when the next generation is scoffing at the idea of having an iPhone or Android.

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Learning how to properly use the Internet

Before August, I mainly used the Internet for entertainment. I would spend hours on Tumblr, browse through my news feed on Facebook, and update my followers on Twitter about my whereabouts.

Although I still waste time on social media, over the past few months I have learned how to utilize the many resources that the Internet offers. I used to mainly rely on interviews for information while writing an article. Of course, some of the most valuable information you find can come from interviews. But it is important to note that there are useful records all over the Internet.

Here are some of the most helpful sources I found this semester:

1) Dogpile

Although it may seem like just another search engine, Dogpile is much more than that. The feature I liked the most on this site was the White Pages tab. This can help you find a source’s age, address and even phone number. Ever since we discussed it in class, I’ve used it countless times for my stories.

2) Lexis-Nexis Group

This site allows users to access legal and journalistic documents. It is useful to get a good idea of who you are looking into. You can find information about scandals the person has been involved with, as well as his or her education, professions and personal life.

3) Miami-Dade County Office of the Property Appraiser

For 10 years, this site has tracked the value of all property within the county for tax purposes, granting exemptions, and updating ownership and address records within the county. This is extremely helpful if your story involves real estate or businesses.

4) Social media

It’s amazing what you can find out about a person just by browsing Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Let’s say you’re looking for some background information on John Smith before an interview. All you have to do is type his name into the search bars of each social network and you’ll most likely find a match fairly quickly. Facebook and LinkedIn can offer you information about where they study/studied, live(d), work(ed), etc. Since Facebook and Twitter focus more on socializing than networking, you can find more personal information on both sites, such as birthdays, likes and dislikes, pictures, and even the profiles of friends and family. With some practice, you can learn how to utilize these sites for more than just gossiping and socializing.

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The Onion offers satirical take on world events


For someone not familiar with the satirical genius that is “The Onion,” a quick glance at its website will not look like anything out of the ordinary. However, a further look into the headlines like “Nation’s Moms Demand Christmas List” can provide quite a few chuckles and a much needed break from the whizzing worlds of top news sources like and

Next time you are cruising around the Internet, I encourage you to take a break from the daily grind of investigating top stories and breathe a breath of fresh air with what The Onion has to offer. What’s more, is that it actually provides much needed commentary on hot topics in the journalism world that can be beneficial for viewpoints of those those very informed on current events.

In the realm of online journalism, The Onion has shown how effective a publication can be in reaching the masses mainly through a well-designed website. The rating for in the U.S. is 619, which is on par or better than many large scale dailies such as The Miami Herald and The Boston Globe. What works so well for The Onion is that their readership is mostly young adults between the ages of 20-30 that are technologically savvy and willing to receive their information from a digital source.

Why I write a post like this is because it shows that journalism in America is definitely changing.  Whether it is for better or worse, a satirical site like The Onion that is flourishing shows that the new model is working. While print will always hold a special place within an old school journalist’s heart, it is necessary to realize that the Internet is quickening the speed of communication and allowing even satirical publications like The Onion to reach the masses.

Next time you have a moment to catch your breath from the communication overload we now face in our world, get a few laughs in from The Onion, maybe even use the app when you are on the go. You will be glad you did it and you will see why the journalistic model that is now taking hold is actually working–even for satire.

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Social media opens conflict in Gaza to world


The common theme of this blog is the impressive pace in which everything seems to be advancing in the world of journalism. This is due to a daily avalanche of new online resources and innovations, specifically in social media, that aids the way that the world receives their news. However, in regards to the latest conflict taking place between Israel and Palestine, much more has changed in the past several years.

During the 2008 Israel Defense Force invasion, the Israeli military did not allow any foreign journalists to enter Gaza. In that conflict, 1,400 Palestinians were killed while only a few journalists based in Gaza were able to cover the events. Just four short years later, journalism and social media have come to play too key a role in the world for anyone to be able to keep them away from what is currently going on in Gaza.

News organizations have planted themselves inside Gaza, cementing their role, as evidenced by the swift reporting of an Israeli strike on a media center in Gaza City last Monday. While four years ago this event may not have even been covered, in 2012 the news was quickly posted onto Twitter by a journalist in the media center. This was followed by a tweet from NBC chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel, a picture of the smoking building. Soon after this came video of the attack from Associated Press reporters in Gaza, as well as CNN.

A new era of wartime journalism is evolving. It is an era in which, not only can journalists have the access to report on every explosion as soon as it happens, but regular citizens may use their social network accounts to provide a glimpse into the ongoing terror in their cities.

It is reasonable to predict that there will soon come a time when every attack and every explosion produces an instant echo through the world of social media. Perhaps these images can guide the conscience of the masses and assist in creating a planet in which armed conflicts can be avoided more often.

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Twitter can make difference in journalist’s career


I never realized how much Tweeting can impact your journalism career until I experienced it first hand – on Black Friday.

As everyone was talking over turkey, cornbread and mashed potatoes with family and friends, I was mentally preparing myself for what would be one of the most eventful nights in my life: Reporting from Dadeland Mall for The Miami Herald.

I had experienced Black Friday before, but as a shopper — not as a reporter and that makes all the difference. I had to find a way to talk to people who were busy trying to find the best deals at 1 a.m and Tweet about what was happening at the mall.

Although talking to people was hard at first, because no one wanted to spend a few minutes answering questions when they could be spending those few minutes finding their next pair of new shoes, I finally learned what it meant to be an avid Twitter user as a journalist.

I got to the mall at 11 p.m. and began Tweeting about parking and lines outside of some stores. At that point, I had 186 followers.

But as the night progressed and I kept tweeting about stores not opening, wait times to pay, good deals, advice, alerts and updates – I left the mall at 4:30 a.m. with 216 followers.

In nearly six hours, I gained 30 followers just because I was tweeting about things that people were interested in knowing. Many Twitter users began asking me questions and I would answer them. I was their way of knowing what was going on.

Creating that engaging environment between yourself and your followers is critical. Users don’t want to follow someone that isn’t going to answer their questions or take their concerns into account.

I always knew that Twitter was valuable, but I never knew it could reach such a big audience. It is an essential and critical tool journalists need to have in order to create a connection with their readers.

Journalism is evolving and for the journalists who don’t see Twitter as a useful tool, I have to say  — they are wrong. Twitter has proven itself to me and I am glad I have now learned how to reach out to people.

It does make a difference.


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How much do newsrooms focus business model on innovation?


Let’s say you’re the president of a newspaper organization that was one of the newspapers that survived going digital. In the recent years, you have firsthand seen newspapers go out of business because they didn’t change their business model to cater to the digital age.

Though you’ve successfully transitioned to a digital format, you now have to figure out how you are going to get revenue. Your revenue can most likely come from having readers pay a subscription fee to view information online, or through advertisements. To further the situation, you realize that the format in which people are getting their information is constantly changing.

At a certain point, news organization realized they had to create applications for mobile phones, (ahem, can we say iPhones?).

Other applications were created for additional devices, including iPads. In addition to this, news organizations had to hire social media managers to maintain all their websites — since everyone is on Facebook and Twitter.

However in a world that is constantly evolving, and where a news organizations ability to survive is based off of how well they can match the platforms at which they present information with the ways in which readers are  digesting information, how to deal with constant innovation?

Some would argue that, if a news organization has the fiscal capabilities to do so, it should consistently find ways to “keep up” with new platforms that are emerging. Basically, if X tech company comes up with X new format for people to digest information, that news organization should provide their news in that format.

The latter is that you don’t invest money in presenting news in a new platform that might (a) die out quickly (b) not have enough users, so you are instead investing money in a platform that is costing you more than the ROI. Know your reader — what demographics do they fall into? Because if you’re demographic is young adults, well you might really be on your “a-game” when it comes to innovation. Further, ride it out. Wait until you know the platform is utilized by enough readers to make an investment.

It may possibly be finding a medium where you’re news organization is aware of new innovations, however are selective in which ones are worth utilizing as a platform to offer their services.

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Independent journalist offers tips, guides, links


Robert Niles, who among other things, won the Online News Association’s 2001 award in the Online Service Journalism category for independent journalists, maintains a website with very useful links or journalists conducting online research.

With categories ranging from “basic stuff” to “crime” and “health,” the website can be a one-stop guide to finding online data quickly. While the site offers links to more commonly known sites such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Federal Election Commission, it also offers links to arguably less obvious sites such as FedStats.

Another useful site by Mr. Niles offers a beginners’ guide to statistics. This guide, which starts with concepts as basic as mean and mode, does go into slightly more complex concepts that must be understood by any journalist using data found on sites like those listed above. For example, under the sub-heading “The Next Step: Not Getting Duped,” Mr. Niles goes into the terms “per capita” and “rate,” what they mean, and how they can be used to trick people.

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Israel, Hamas take their latest conflict online


Battlegrounds became virtual with the Israeli Defense Forces and Hamas militants when they exchanged heated tweets in order to sway public perception. It was on Wednesday of last week that Israeli defenses announced a “widespread campaign on terror sites and operatives in the Gaza Strip” after launching its campaign against Hamas by killing their top commander Ahmed Jabari. The popular hashtags have been “IsraelUnderFire” and “GazaUnderAttack” from the opposition.

Israel forces also posted “We recommend that no Hamas operatives, whether low level or senior leaders, show their faces above ground in the days ahead.” Hamas responded through its English account, “Our blessed hands will reach your leaders and soldiers wherever you are (You Opened Hell Gates on Yourselves).” It’s interesting how social media is considered to be influential enough for international and government organizations to use it as a platform for threats.

Israeli expanded their social media presence with a YouTube channel, Facebook, Flickr photo albums, and a Tumblr. Military spokeswoman Lt. Col. Avital Leibovich said that an “additional war zone” developed on the Internet. She’s the head of a two-month-old branch of the IDF called “Interactive Media” with about 30 soldiers trained in writing and graphic design skills.

Hamas has also been a part of the social media world with a regularly updated Facebook page and SMS distribution list. The fact that both sides of such a serious and violent conflict use social media to gain support and get their message to the world shows that conflicts are more about just winning it on the ground, it’s now about winning through public opinion as well.

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